Neil Blakey-Milner

2023 Setup: Technology Daily Drivers

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This is snapshot of what I’ve been using in 2023 and into early 2024 - primarily as a reminder to myself so I can track changes over time, but maybe others can find something interesting in here.


My main computational device is an 11-inch iPad Pro, 4th generation, a Wi-Fi + Cellular model with 256GB of storage. I don’t have a personal notebook - the iPad fulfills this role.

Primary uses:




The second-most-frequently used general computational device I use is a desktop PC. This is mostly a weekend device, since it’s usually only used for my personal projects. It was top-of-the-line when I bought it - and haven’t yet run into anything that pushed me to upgrade.

Primary uses:




Games (the on-repeat set, not necessarily played in 2023):


When I’m not at home5, I carry around an iPhone 13 (the non-Pro non-Mini base one) although I don’t actually use it a lot since I prefer using my iPad.

Primary Uses:



I have two Apple TV 4Ks (second generation) connected to two LG OLED televisions. The actual televisions don’t run anything - ideally one could buy them without any smarts at all.



Game Consoles

When given the option, I play games on my games consoles. I prefer controllers and the big screen - although in the past I had my PC hooked up.

I have a PlayStation 5 (the non-digital edition with a drive), XBox Series X, and a Nintendo Switch.

By far, I use the PS5 whenever possible. The XBox UI generally annoys me, being slow and unfriendly and occasionally unreliable. PlayStation exclusive titles are excellent.

As mentioned, these basically only run games - I use the Apply TV for other tasks.

The Switch has sat unplugged for a few years now6 - something I wouldn’t have expected in the past. At least I know where it is now. I guess I might plug it in and finally get around to playing Tears of the Kingdom.

Servers and VMs

Intel NUC (deprecated)

Up until the end of 2023, I used an Intel NUC for situations where I wanted to run highly untrusted code7, or needed to run code on Linux on metal specifically for some reason. This spends most of its time powered off, and boots off a flash card.

Virtualbox (deprecated)

Up until the end of 2023, I ran Virtualbox VMs on my desktop PC for a long-lived Linux environment and whatever other temporary VMs I might care to make. Most of these are accessed via Visual Studio Code’s remote functionality, giving a native exploration/editing environment visible only within Visual Studio Code, and all the contents stored externally.

Homelab server

Right at the beginning of 2024 8, I set up a server to run VMs full-time, rather than use VirtualBox on my desktop or use my NUC.

It’s set up with two nVidia RTX 4090s with GPU passthrough to VMs, allowing me to run various AI/ML workloads (and even games) within VMs with little loss of performance and with increased security.

As with previous VMs run via VirtualBox, most of this is accessed via Visual Studio Code’s remote functionality.



OS: Proxmox VE

Apps (run in VMs):

iMac Pro (not exactly daily…)

I also have an iMac Pro (the one-time offering from 2017) which for quite some time was my primary desktop computer, while my current desktop PC was primarily being used for games or applications that needed the discrete graphics card.

I mostly use the iMac Pro now for specific situations where I want slightly more reassurance about the security of the system - it has been exposed to dramatically lower volume of untrusted code9. That means it can sit unused for weeks.



  1. Although I generally prefer macOS ↩︎

  2. Besides code I wrote that shouldn’t be trusted… ↩︎

  3. Obviously with all the lighting turned off… ↩︎

  4. This was deprecated at the end of 2023 once I had my homelab server set up. ↩︎

  5. When I’m at home, it sits on my nightstand, and I generally carry my iPad with me around the house. ↩︎

  6. Yeah, I know this means it isn’t a daily driver by any means. But it’s my post… ↩︎

  7. The distinction here is between untrusted supply chain code (whether downloaded in compiled or source form) and untrusted project code. If that’s a meaningful one… ↩︎

  8. Year boundaries are arbitrary. And I ordered it in 2023, so… ↩︎

  9. Not sure what “trusted” code even is these days, but the least trustworthy code this computer has run2 are very common Rust crates. ↩︎